WXXI AM News

Lawmakers call for allowing veterans to continue to sell poppies outside local post offices

May 26, 2018

Credit www.vfw.org

A couple of area federal lawmakers are trying to throw their influence behind the effort to allow veterans to sell poppies in front of local post offices, but it doesn’t appear the U.S. Postal Service is budging on its policy.

It has been a long tradition by veterans all over the country to sell red poppies to raise money for various VFW and American Legion posts and veterans who need assistance.

Recently officials at  the Jefferson Road Post Office in Henrietta asked the vet’s distributing poppies there to leave, citing a longstanding policy that bans solicitation on post office property  

Senator Chuck Schumer was in town Friday. He says the volunteers raise a lot of money for these key efforts and he will back their efforts to reverse the decision. 

“So on Memorial Day, the VFW was always allowed into the post office to sell the poppies and they made about $4,000 to help our veterans each Memorial Day weekend…”

Schumer says he’s asked U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to immediately reverse the decision and accept donations for poppies on the property.

Also this week, Congressman Chris Collins, a Republican from the Buffalo area issued a statement saying that, “Heading into Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and wear poppies as a symbol of our gratitude to the fallen. This is an important tradition and I needed to take action to elevate the issue to the highest authority at USPS.”

Collins has also written to the Postmaster General asking for her help, and hesays that if the situation is not resolved, he  will look into legislative solutions to prevent this from happening in the future. 

The Postal Service provided this response to WXXI News:

"In order to treat all organizations consistently and fairly, and to minimize disruption to postal operations, Postal Service regulations have prohibited charitable solicitations of all kinds on postal property since at least 1972.  Our long-standing regulation is similar to policy that applies to virtually all other federal government property because of a similar General Service Administration regulation that likewise prohibits charitable solicitations on GSA-controlled property with the exception of the Combined Federal Campaign.

The issue at the Henrietta, NY Post Office appears to be an isolated incident, although it is possible that the regulation may have been incorrectly applied on occasion at one or more of our 30,000 - plus facilities.  The Postal Service is a proud supporter of America’s veterans, and we are one of the largest civilian employers of veterans in the country."